Advice from Jimmy the Bartender


Periodically, I read Men’s Health at night before I go to sleep. There is an interesting page I look forward to reading in each issue titled “Jimmy the Bartender” that is devoted to reader’s questions. Although I don’t always agree with Jimmy’s advice, for the most part he seems like a fairly wise old fella’ who understands human nature.

This past weekend, I came across the following advice from Jimmy:


I share this with you to remind you of the following:

  1. Our kids are still kids and need our guidance, direction, and protection. Our experience with life and the mistakes that we’ve made (and hopefully learned from) can be great nuggets to help guide them in their journey. Be sure to take time to talk to your teens about the dangers of social media and help them learn appropriate ways to manage those tools.
  2. To that end (re: setting boundaries and using discretion with social media) SkyView is hosting a FREE showing of Screenagers for our parents on Tuesday, April 11 at 6:30. You can RSVP through the Thursday Wire.

If you have not yet had a chance to read some of my previous blogs regarding social media, please take a second to do so. And we very much look forward to having you join us for Screenagers on April 11.




My Spring Break

spring break

I’ve been asked several times by students, staff, and even parents what I plan to do with my Spring Break. Well, as you can imagine, breaks don’t come cheap and there is still always something to be done. So with that being said, here is what is on my “To Do/Must Do” list for Spring Break (and this is in no particular order):

  • Play my first round of golf this year check
  • …and a round with Tara & Corbin check
  • Climb Devils Head still closed for the season 😦
  • Ride my motorcycle check, check, check
  • Take my wife out on a date check, check, check
  • Aerate and fertilize our lawn check
  • Fertilize our 12 trees check
  • Replace the fuel pump on our car check
  • Replace the cam sensor on our car check
  • Change the oil on our car check
  • Rotate the tires, change the oil, and detail my wife’s truck check
  • Record and post my presentation for my Strategic Systems Improvement class check
  • Write at least 10 pages of my lit review (for my dissertation) check (but still needs significant  editing)
  • Write at least 10 pages of my annotated bibliography (for my dissertation) half-heck (6 pages)
  • Finish and submit my quantitative research critique just not enough time during break 😦
  • Finalize the SVA high school state testing/proctoring schedule check
  • Begin ’17-’18 scheduling check (…but still a long way to go)
  • Clean out my email inbox (frightening!) check
  • Attend St. Patrick’s Day get-together with staff check
  • Job fair check
  • Attend baseball game at Manual check
  • Prepare for Graduation Committee Meeting, Grade Committee Meeting, and Marketing Committee Meeting check, check, check
  • Make elk summer sausage for staff check
  • Have coffee with my mentor in Houston this week 😦
  • Have coffee with my coach called away on business 😦
  • Do a site visit for a friend/colleague check
  • Complete and file tax return maybe next weekend–still have until Apr 15

So next time you see me, feel free to ask me about something on my list. I’d be happy to have you hold me accountable. But don’t forget to review your own list and to hold yourselves accountable too (7 Amazingly Productive Things to do Over Break; How to Have a Productive Spring Break).



“This is that time of the year!”

…a tinselly, glittery time. Long distance calls to uncle and aunt, …

No, no: not that time of the year. Sorry. That time of the year is still a long way off. I mean, it’s that time of the year when we do our state testing.


Yes, it’s true that we need this data in order to “look good” to the state, to prove that there is a reason to have a SkyView Academy, and to demonstrate that we are meeting a need in this district. But let’s be clear: this is not just about what this means to the state. Oh no… this is about much, much more.

First, this is a great opportunity to show off how GREAT we are doing at SkyView–to demonstrate to our stakeholders, our prospective families, and our surrounding community just how successful we have become! There are two primary ways that our success is measured: achievement and growth. Yes, it helps when our students score very well on the exams we take, but it also helps us to demonstrate that students are growing. By demonstrating that students of all abilities are growing and moving forward, we are able to demonstrate that SkyView is a strong academic institution.

Second, this is a tremendous opportunity for us to collect some data that not only demonstrates to others that we are growing, but also informs us how to grow and improve, thus better educating students and preparing them for the future. And to be honest, this is the most important reason for all of our students to participate in the “state” testing. This is some very valuable, longitudinal, norm-referenced data that helps us to improve instruction.

With that being said, let’s consider some popular questions regarding spring testing…

“But doesn’t all this testing take up a ton of time and cut into instructional time?”

Not really. In fact, at the high school we will be completing all of our spring testing in just two days (April 10 & 11)! And for sophomores and juniors, the total amount of time will require less than one day! Seniors will have no testing required of them on April 10 and 11. Let’s look at it another way…

If we were to equate an entire year (365 days) to a long walk from SkyView Academy to San Francisco, CA, then the amount of time that students spend each year receiving in-class instruction would essentially be like walking from SkyView to Glenwood Springs. Out of all the instructional time we have each year, the amount of time spent on “state” testing would be like walking from SkyView Academy down to the Krispy Creme at 470 and Quebec!

If you’re still not convinced, then let me put it to you this way: on average, a high school student spends more time on their Smartphone each day than they spend on state testing for the entire year!

What tests will we be taking? …when?

Freshmen will be taking the PARCC test. The math portion will be Monday, April 10 and the ELA portion will be Tuesday, April 11. Last year we scored very well! I am confident that we will knock it out of the park again this year (did you catch that pun), but we need to increase participation.

Sophomores will be taking the PSAT on Tuesday morning, April 11. This is very valuable data that we will compare to their PSAT scores next fall (and it will help us prepare for the PSAT/National Merit next fall).

Juniors will take the CMAS (science only) on Monday morning, April 10 and then take the SAT on Tuesday morning, April 11. I hope I don’t need to convince you to take the SAT. But the CMAS is also important–this is a great opportunity to get some much-needed science data to connect with our enormous science fair success (not to mention it’s a perfect way to warm up for the SAT the next day).

Seniors will not have any testing on April 10 & 11. Instead we have planned a senior trip for them (more details will be forthcoming).

What if I want to opt out?

Well, quite frankly, that is an option. I do, however, feel that it is the wrong decision to opt out of any testing. You will be robbing SkyView of some valuable data and jeopardizing either our achievement or growth numbers, thus preventing us from getting better. So simply put, opt-outs hurt SkyView. If you are considering opting out of testing, I am sincerely asking you to reconsider and to take one for the team (the SkyView Team).

If students do opt out, they are still required to attend school that day. Absences during state testing (opt-out or otherwise) will be unexcused.

I completely understand why and how you use this data. I get it–and I’m in! But I want to see this data too. When will I see the results?

PSAT and SAT results will be released fairly quickly to schools and students in June. CMAS and PARCC results will be released to schools next fall–in turn, we should be able to have that data to you sometime before Parent/Teacher conferences. At that time, we will also share out what we have learned, including areas of strength and areas for growth.

Anything else I need to know?

Nope, not that I can think of. Just know that we want all of our high school students to participate in testing–both for their own benefit and for SkyView’s. More information will be forthcoming in the weeks to follow. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to myself or Paula Harrison our assessment coordinator.